According to an article in “The British Journal of Medicine,” it is time to blow the lid off the confusion and misconceptions about how we lose weight. Most individuals believe that fat is changed into energy or heat thereby losing weight. This goes against the law of conservation of mass. Other misconceptions are that substances produced from fat are excreted in kaka duty or changed into muscle. It is time for a little refresher course or introduction to Anatomy and Physiology /Biochemistry.
Excess carbohydrate or protein is converted to triglyceride (glycerol ester) and stored in lipid droplets (fat globules) of adipocytes (fat cells). The excess fat from diet needs no conversion other than lipolysis of fats into fatty acids and glycerol, as by lipase (an enzyme excreted by the pancreas) and re- esterification. “People who wish to lose weight while maintaining their fat-free mass is, biochemically speaking, attempting to metabolise the triglycerides stored in their adipocytes.”
- Lipid is any of a group of organic compounds that are greasy to the touch, insoluble in water, and soluble in alcohol and ether: lipids comprise the fats and other esters with analogous properties and constitute, with proteins and carbohydrates, the chief structural components of living cells.
- Ester is a compound produced by the reaction between an acid and an alcohol with elimination of a molecule of water.
- Fatty acid is a
- Glycerol (an alcohol) is a sweet, syrupy liquid obtained from animal fats and oils or by the fermentation of glucose.
- Triglyceride is and ester obtained from glycerol by the esterification of three hydroxyl groups with fatty acids, naturally occurring in animal and vegetable tissues: an important energy source for much of the fat stored by the body.
- Lipolysis is the hydrolysis (chemical decomposition in which a compound is split into other compounds by reacting with water) of fats into fatty acids and glycerol, as by lipase (excreted by the pancreas).
Therefore, we can roughly scratch out a formula in English that describes where the average triglycerides in fat go in an exothermic reaction:
Triglycerides + Oxygen —> Carbon Dioxide + Water + Energy.
The equation shows the metabolic results of fat oxidation, but leaves us in a quandary about their proportion of mass that leave as carbon dioxide and water during ones weight-loss. This is important because of what was stated earlier about the conservation of mass!
Simply put after all the molecular weight computations are completed, it shows that 84% of the triglyceride molecules’ mass exhaled is carbon dioxide. 16% of mass becomes water.
The results clearly show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for weight-loss. The water made may be excreted in the pee pee, pooh pooh, sweat, breath, tears or other fluids.
So fellow travelers, we are about to dispel the mystery on weight-loss with an example provided by the bmj. “At rest, an average 70 kg (154 lb.) person consuming a mixed diet exhales about 200 ml (7 oz.) of CO2 in 12 breaths per minute. Each of those breaths therefore excretes 33 mg (1 oz.) of CO2, of which 8.9 mg (.00032 oz.) is carbon. In a day spent asleep, at rest, and performing light activities that double the resting metabolic rate, each for 8 hours, this person exhales 0.74 kg of CO2 so that 203 g (7 oz.) of carbon are lost from the body. For comparison, 500 g (18 oz.) of sucrose (C12H22O11) provides 8400 kJ (2000 kcal) and contains 210 g (7 oz.) of carbon. Replacing one hour of rest with exercise that raises the metabolic rate to seven times that of resting by, for example, jogging, removes an additional 39 g (1.4 oz.) of carbon from the body, raising the total by about 20% to 240 g (8.5 oz.). For comparison, a single 100 g (3.5 oz.) muffin represents about 20% of an average person’s total daily energy requirement. Physical activity as a weight loss strategy is, therefore, easily foiled by relatively small quantities of excess food.
Our calculations show that the lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat. Losing weight requires unlocking the carbon stored in fat cells, thus reinforcing that often heard refrain of “eat less, move more.””
Once again, we are confronted with the fact that gaining weight is much easier than losing weight. The body wants to be in a state of homeostasis (balance) and works hard to conserve energy. Exercise is only 20% of the equation the remaining 80% is diet. The question remains, why we insist on stuffing ourselves when the consequences are so dire to health and take so much effort to undo.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved May 11, 2015, from Dictionary.com website:http://dictionary.reference.com/browse
BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g7257 (Published 16 December 2014)
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